Everyone's Overreacting To The Wrong Thing About Facebook (Briefly) Blocking Elizabeth Warren's Ads

from the again-and-again dept

I've made it clear that I don't think much of Elizabeth Warren's big plan to "break up big tech," which seemed not particularly well thought out and unlikely to accomplish its actual goals. Even so, I certainly cringed upon hearing the news that Facebook had blocked an ad that Warren's team had taken to promote the plan. I mean, come on. Here is Warren, talking about how Facebook is too powerful and can potentially influence policy by choosing what it allows and what it doesn't allow... and Facebook up and hands Warren the most beautiful gift she could ever hope for: blocking her own ad for her policy to break up Facebook. Basically everyone immediately spun the story as Facebook trying to censor this call to break up itself.

It sure looked bad.

Of course, the reality, again, is a lot more nuanced. And, while everyone will ignore this (and I'm sure some people will make bogus accusations in the comments), the reality is that this isn't proof of Facebook's nefarious attempts to censor people it doesn't like or messages it doesn't like. It's proof of the impossibility of content moderation at scale. As Facebook explained, the original ad violated a Facebook policy that had nothing to do with the message it was sending: you're apparently not allowed to use Facebook's logo in an ad:

“We removed the ads because they violated our policies against use of our corporate logo," the spokesperson said. "In the interest of allowing robust debate, we are restoring the ads.”

This is, indeed, true. If you look at Facebook's ad policies it shows the following:

You are, in fact, not allowed to use a Facebook logo in an ad. Warren's ad violated that. Of course, in this context, it looks really, really bad. As Buzzfeed's Ryan Mac noted, this policy -- "which was ostensibly put in place for good reason, is interpreted without nuance."

Yup. Except, here's the thing, as we discussed on our podcast last year, it is literally impossible to invoke nuance when discussing moderation of content at scale. To handle the kind of scale that Facebook and other giant platforms deal with, you need to have thousands (and maybe tens of thousands) of content moderators, and they need to be trained in a manner that they will apply the same rules pretty consistently (which is already an impossible standard). In such a world, there is literally no room for nuance. A system that allows nuance is one that allows arbitrary decision making... leading to just more complaints of inconsistent content moderation.

And, frankly, for all of Warren's attempt to frame this as evidence that Facebook has "too much power" and is "dominated by a single censor," what actually played out suggests why that's inaccurate. These ads weren't getting much attention. Indeed, they had almost no money behind them. According to Buzzfeed, these ads weren't designed to reach a wide audience:

Facebook’s ad archive shows that the four ads had less than $100 in backing each, with three garnering fewer than 1,000 impressions and one garnering between 1,000 and 5,000 impressions.

And then what happened? The ads got taken down, and rather being "censored," the story went crazy viral through other sources, almost as if the Warren campaign maybe found some silly rule to violate just to make this kind of thing happen.... And, of course, the Streisand Effect then guaranteed that for basically a tiny ad spend, a ton more people now became aware of these ads.

I fully expect that the details and nuance here will be ignored by most -- and we'll keep hearing for months (or, possibly, years) about how this somehow "proves" Facebook either "censors critics" or is too dominant and can stifle a message. And, yet, all of the details show something very, very different. Content moderation at scale is impossible to do well, and when Facebook does (for totally different reasons) try to stifle a message (after receiving tons of pressure from people like Elizabeth Warren to better police political ads...), it suddenly became headline news across the political and tech news realms.

Again, there are all sorts of reasons to be concerned about Facebook's market position. And I'd love to see more competition in the market. But, can we at least not jump on the easy narrative when it's wrong, even if it "feels" good?

Filed Under: advertisements, antitrust, censorship, content moderation, elizabeth warren, logos, message, policies, power
Companies: facebook


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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 10:02am

    It's proof of the impossibility of content moderation at scale.

    it is literally impossible to invoke nuance when discussing moderation of content at scale.

    Content moderation at scale is impossible to do well.

    You keep making this point--and I agree, it's true--but you never draw any conclusions from it.

    Content moderation at scale is impossible, and therefore... what should happen?

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 10:14am

      Re:

      Everything in my previous post about moving to a world of protocols, not platforms, and pushing the power out to the ends of the network. Let everyone be able to curate their own experience, or adapt any third parties' curation...

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      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 10:59am

        Re: Re:

        All right. That sounds nice, but... when has it ever happened in reality? Human nature simply doesn't work that way. Social systems have always tended towards centralization over time, because as a whole we find that the benefits of centralization outweigh the benefits of decentralization.

        Most people simply don't have the time or expertise to devote towards "curating their own experience," which means they'd be driven to adapt third parties' curations, and those third parties would inevitably consolidate, and within 10 years (at the very most; likely far less) we'd be essentially back where we started, with two or three centralized massive curation systems that everyone's using, all having the same problems of moderation at scale.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 11:19am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Most people simply don't have the time or expertise to devote towards "curating their own experience," which means they'd be driven to adapt third parties' curations, and those third parties would inevitably consolidate, and within 10 years (at the very most; likely far less) we'd be essentially back where we started, with two or three centralized massive curation systems that everyone's using, all having the same problems of moderation at scale.

          Why hasn't that happened with email, then?

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          • icon
            Mason Wheeler (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 11:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The centralization part has definitely happened. Everyone these days is on email run by Google, Yahoo or Microsoft. The curation and moderation problem hasn't because it doesn't apply, as email isn't a social network. (I suppose you could make the case that spam is an analogous issue, but the major email providers all have their own spam "moderation" systems.)

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 11:31am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Everyone" is not on those platforms. Yes, they are the three dominant webmail providers. Meanwhile, there are many others, and people do use them. Additionally, virtually everyone who works in an office has a work email run on a private server. Most contractors in all sorts of industries have their own web hosts with their own email accounts. Lots of people maintain a secondary account on a lesser service for alternative purposes of one kind or another (or more than just two). Also, all those things are interoperable, because of open protocols - you can quickly and easily set up Gmail to check your Outlook account, or vice versa, or check both via your desktop email client that also checks your work email, or check your work email via your Gmail, or... that's the beauty of protocols! Nobody feels particularly trapped by their email provider OR their email software/web interface, or unable to move to a different one or incorporate another one into their workflow.

              It seems like you want to say that if there is any semblance of someone winning in a market - even, say, a few large providers that make more money than hundreds of totally sustainable smaller ones - then that's the same as it being "centralized" or "monopolized". It's really not.

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              • icon
                Mason Wheeler (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 11:53am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Additionally, virtually everyone who works in an office has a work email run on a private server.

                Yes, and I was including that in my statement. Perhaps I should have been more explicit. Every office I've ever worked at, the work email ran on Outlook, which is run by Microsoft. I'm aware of a few competitors in that space, but the only one I know of that has gotten any traction comes from...

                ...wait for it...

                Google!

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                • icon
                  James Burkhardt (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:23pm

                  Client =/= Hosting

                  Outlook is an email client. Google doesn't have a desktop email client.

                  Outlook also supports a variety of Microsoft branded email hosting services, like Exchange or Office 365, to which google does produce a competitor (albeit via a web browser) in Gmail. But most businesses I work with use neither Google or Microsoft email hosting, going with services provided by their domain provider or a bespoke solution.

                  Most offices use Outlook because it is free with the bundle of office products they feel they need, ie Microsoft Office. Most large companies than also require universal use of specific programs rather than allow individuals to install their preferred applications. This leads to a homogeneous client environment in big business. But notably, it does not mean there is not competition for email hosting, which was kind of the point of the solution Mike suggests in the social media space, though reversed. Even if everyone is on the same protocol, lots of competition could happen on the client side, improving the user experience. Its how IRC and Usenet worked, and it worked well.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:30pm

                    Re: Client =/= Hosting

                    Outlook is an email client. Google doesn't have a desktop email client.

                    It goes beyond even that, really. Outlook(.com) is also an email provider - you can get an Outlook account that is an email address @outlook.com with storage etc. And you can access it via the Outlook.com web client, or via the Outlook desktop client, or via a different web or desktop client

                    Google doesn't have a desktop client, but Gmail is still both a service and client. They are united in the sense that you can't sign up for just one or the other - you always get both - but once you've signed up and quickly set it up, you can never open Gmail.com again and do everything from another client, or you can never send an email through your Gmail address and can solely use the web client for accessing other email accounts.

                    Everything works with everything in a pretty much entirely seamless manner, and it's great.

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                    • icon
                      James Burkhardt (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:55pm

                      Re: Re: Client =/= Hosting

                      Outlook.com would fall under the header of Microsoft branded email hosting.

                      When someone says the work email ran on Outlook, I will assume that he is referring to the desktop application, not that every office he ever worked at used Outlook.com for business email hosting. He may be saying that, but without clarity, I'll assume he means the far more well known Outlook email client, for which Gmail's web interface is a marginal competitor, but most people aren't aware you can use Gmail for anything other than a Gmail account.

                      Contrastingly, every mail provider, including outlook.com, I worked with in the last 15 years provided a web mail portal. Gmail is unique in that it expects you to actually use it as part of Google's attempt to replace desktop office apps with a web-based app suite (whatever they call it now) and so it feels as slick and functional as a desktop client. But the use cases only overlap, not actually replace each other.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:58pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Client =/= Hosting

                        Yup, I'm not disagreeing with you. The beauty of the protocol is that all these companies are free to do all this stuff, and try all sorts of different models of offering combinations of clients and hosting, without anyone ever being locked into anything and without any interoperability problems.

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                        • icon
                          Mason Wheeler (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 1:05pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Client =/= Hosting

                          But that's my point. Even with an open protocol, business email still all managed by Microsoft's Outlook system. Centralization happened anyway.

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 1:15pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Client =/= Hosting

                            You are so cavalier with the word "all"

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                            • icon
                              Mason Wheeler (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 1:26pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Client =/= Hosting

                              Yes, obviously some minor outliers do exist. But they're statistically insignificant enough to disregard when talking about the big picture. If someone refers to "all" or "none" in a discussion like this, it should properly be understood as including the words "within epsilon."

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                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 1:37pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Client =/= Hosting

                                Some 80% of businesses in the most recent survey I can find still use internal email servers, in most cases some sort of legacy system. The remaining 20% are now using cloud-based hosted email services. That is an ongoing shift, btw - the numbers shift in favour of hosted services every year. In the hosted market, Microsoft isn't even the leader - it's well behind Google, which is in front (followed by MS and GoDaddy), but no provider has more than about a 30% market share. In the 80% using internal email servers, it looks like when last surveyed Microsoft Exchange had about a 90% market share. That has most likely gone down a bit but they are still clearly a leader in that segment of the market.

                                And when you look at Email as a whole, Microsoft is only #5 for email client market share (well behind Apple, which is barely represented on the business side) and for platform provision is only #3 (behind Yahoo, again not represented on the business side). There are huge age divisions too - most Outlook.com users are over 50, while most Gmail users are under 35, suggesting these rankings are going to continue shifting over time.

                                That sounds to me like a healthy, competitive market with different (and changing) leaders in different segments. Your attempt to reduce it to one monopoly and then "statistically insignificant" outliers just doesn't hold up. You seem to think that if any company becomes a leader, for any amount of time, in any subsector of any industry, it means it's a monopoly and centralization has won. Bullshit.

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                                • icon
                                  Mason Wheeler (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 2:02pm

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Client =/= Hosting

                                  I didn't say anything about monopolies here; please stop misrepresenting me. What I said was that it's human nature that large numbers of small groups will consolidate and centralize into small numbers of large groups, and that the example given, email providers, does in fact follow this pattern, both in individual email and in the business realm.

                                  Pointing out that Microsoft and Google have multiple different ways to manage email does nothing to change the fact that people are managing their email with Microsoft and Google systems.

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                                  • identicon
                                    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 2:04pm

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Client =/= Hosting

                                    Then it's not clear what point you're making at all.

                                    Email is a healthy market with lots of competition. There is clumping around some solutions but, critically, all those solutions are completely interoperable with no friction, and nobody is ever trapped by a particular service or company.

                                    It's how more things should work.

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                                    • icon
                                      Mason Wheeler (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 2:39pm

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Client =/= Hosting

                                      Why are you bringing lock-in into this? I didn't say anything about lock-in. I said that centralization is inevitable, and demonstrated that it has happened in the realm of email when you tried to claim that email was a counterexample. Nothing more. Once again, please stop putting words in my mouth.

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                                      • identicon
                                        Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 2:51pm

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Client =/= Hosting

                                        I guess I was putting words in your mouth because I was looking for an actual point to respond to.

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                                    • identicon
                                      Prinny, 13 Mar 2019 @ 9:29am

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Client =/= Hosting

                                      That's simply not true at all, dood! The structure of the modern Web makes email lock-in just about the biggest lock-in there is! Have you ever tried to leave your primary email provider, the one whose address essentially serves as your identity for every website you're a member of? You basically can't, because it serves as your identity for every website you're a member of, dood!

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                                      • icon
                                        nasch (profile), 13 Mar 2019 @ 10:09am

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Client =/= Hosting

                                        Have you ever tried to leave your primary email provider, the one whose address essentially serves as your identity for every website you're a member of? You basically can't, because it serves as your identity for every website you're a member of, dood!

                                        I've done it four times. It sounds like you're confusing "mild inconvenience" for "impossibility".

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                                      • identicon
                                        Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2019 @ 11:04am

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Client =/= Hosting

                                        lol you must be pretty technically inept

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                                  • identicon
                                    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 2:10pm

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Client =/= Hosting

                                    Remember: nobody ever claimed that in a world of open-protocol-based social media, there would never be some dominant social media tools with much bigger user-bases than others.

                                    Of course there will be.

                                    And if one of those dominant companies starts to suck and piss people off, they will lose dominance, because it will not be at all difficult for a competitor to rise up in their place and for users to switch over. And people choosing to use a competitor will just be choosing a different way to interact with the protocol, not a different walled garden entirely. And if one of those dominant companies kicks some people off their service, it won't lock them out of the ecosystem altogether - they'll be able to use one of many other tools based on the protocol, to access the same network.

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                                    • icon
                                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Mar 2019 @ 8:16am

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Client =/= Hosting

                                      "And if one of those dominant companies starts to suck and piss people off, they will lose dominance, because it will not be at all difficult for a competitor to rise up in their place and for users to switch over."

                                      As anyone who grew up getting used to Yahoo search can testify to. Google is the biggest right now only because large parts of it is still in the hands of techies who like making things work, rather than marketers whose first order of business is to compromise on functionality and ethics in the name of market shares.

                                      Lately google has been slipping so there IS a market niche for a new contender - but the competency bar is VERY high.

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                                      • icon
                                        Thad (profile), 13 Mar 2019 @ 8:40am

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Client =/= Hosting

                                        Google's also got a level of lock-in that Yahoo never did. Of course you don't have to use Google Search if you're using Chrome or Android, but most people don't change the defaults.

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 1:38pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Client =/= Hosting

                            business email still all managed by Microsoft's Outlook system

                            This is categorically false. Many businesses use Google's enterprise G Suite for email, not to mention I personally know of several businesses that use Lotus notes for email, and other businesses use other email providers. To say that all business email runs off Microsoft, is completely false, and mildly disingenuous.

                            Note, Outlook does NOT equal an email system. Outlook is a client that can connect to any email host/provider. It is not limited to Microsoft's email services. Microsoft does offer a free email hosting solution (somewhat confusingly called Outlook.com) but that is completely separate from the Outlook email client.

                            I will admit Microsoft's email systems (Outlook.com, on-premise Exchange, or cloud offering Exchange Online through Office 365) are the most popular, especially for businesses, but they are FAR from the only systems being used by businesses.

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        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 11:19am

          Re: Re: Re:

          All right. That sounds nice, but... when has it ever happened in reality? Human nature simply doesn't work that way. Social systems have always tended towards centralization over time, because as a whole we find that the benefits of centralization outweigh the benefits of decentralization.

          I disagree. History shows a pendulum that swings back and forth between centralization and decentralization, especially in technology. We went from giant mainframes to more decentralized systems in the past, and then back to more centralized services, and we can go back to more decentralized systems in the future.

          Most people simply don't have the time or expertise to devote towards "curating their own experience," which means they'd be driven to adapt third parties' curations, and those third parties would inevitably consolidate, and within 10 years (at the very most; likely far less) we'd be essentially back where we started, with two or three centralized massive curation systems that everyone's using, all having the same problems of moderation at scale.

          I disagree. I do agree most would use 3rd party curation, but the good thing is that even if some of them did consolidate, the fact that they are based on open standards means it would be quite easy to spin up a new option and competition if one starts acting badly.

          Take email as an example. It's built on open standards, and certainly you could argue that Google, in particular, has become a default with so many people using Gmail. But we never hear any complaints about Google being too heavy handed with Gmail -- and that's because it's pretty easy for anyone to swap out to a different email system if they don't like how Gmail works.

          It becomes a check on too much power, and it's a check that works really well.

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          • icon
            James Burkhardt (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 11:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            To add, even when I use a Gmail address, I don't need to use the Gmail client, I can still shove that in apple mail, outlook, thunderbird, ect, and never deal with the ads in the gmail client.

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            • icon
              Mike Masnick (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 11:38am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              To add, even when I use a Gmail address, I don't need to use the Gmail client, I can still shove that in apple mail, outlook, thunderbird, ect, and never deal with the ads in the gmail client.

              Or -- alternatively -- even if you use a non Gmail address, you can still use the Gmail client (which no longer has ads anyway). And it's all because of open protocols. People can piece together the solution(s) they want.

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          • icon
            Mason Wheeler (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 11:50am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            History shows a pendulum that swings back and forth between centralization and decentralization, especially in technology. We went from giant mainframes to more decentralized systems in the past, and then back to more centralized services, and we can go back to more decentralized systems in the future.

            I'm actually very familiar with the "pendulum" in question, and you're unfortunately framing it quite out of context here. I'm talking about social structures, and you're responding with an example based on technological limitations. The underlying technical issues you're addressing weren't about centralized vs. decentralized social structures, but about centralized vs. individual technological work.

            We started out with big mainframes because computers were big and expensive--a super-scarce resource--and the most efficient way to make use of them was to build way more computer than one person needed and share it between many people. Once Moore's Law got us to the point where individuals could have their own desktop computers with the processing power to take care of the work they needed, starting in the late 70s, things shifted to that paradigm because it simply works a lot better for various technical and user-experience reasons. But most computer work, even in the mainframe era, was not "social" in the sense we think of it today; it was a bunch of individuals sharing a powerful server.

            Then, a couple decades later in the late 90s, the Web browser came along and made the Internet accessible to the average Joe. The Web was built on top of the Internet, which was originally designed as a decentralized system for a very, very specific purpose--to provide widespread geographic redundancy in order to make the total destruction of important information difficult even in the event of a nuclear attack, because Cold War--and started out with a decentralized architecture by default simply because it inherited that from the Internet. But the technical systems were a rigid client/server setup reminiscent of the old-time mainframes, because that was easy to implement.

            Over time, both of these factors have flipped around. Without the specific constraints that applied to the design of the original Internet providing an overriding direction, human nature has run its course and we've seen the Web as a social system consolidate and centralize. On the technological front, however, we've re-learned the lessons of the past, that the rigid mainframe/client setup sucks for a number of reasons, and developed all sorts of technologies to push as much of the individual work of the Web as possible down to the individual client devices. Technologies such as AJAX, websockets, SPA frameworks and most notably smartphone apps that run mostly locally but use Internet connections to augment their functionality are indicative of this trend.

            The social and technological sides of the Internet are distinct things that work in different ways (hence the common admonition in developer circles not to try to solve a social problem with a technical solution) and conflating the two simply causes confusion.

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          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Mar 2019 @ 8:40am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "History shows a pendulum that swings back and forth between centralization and decentralization, especially in technology."

            For good and valid reason. You've highlighted the technology aspect where open standards allows local control without loss of function. That technology also drives and is driven by the social aspects.

            Centralization ALWAYS brings mission creep. The internet is a good example; The proper protocols to run packet traffic from network backbones to local routers are robust and simple. It would be easy to only hold one DNS index for the whole of it, for instance, and the optimal routing would never involve the sprawling interlinked networks we have today.

            Yet after tinpot dictators, inept politicians, ten thousand eager copyright trolls, and the odd gang of DDoSing vandals have had their say we end up increasing distribution of the load any which way we can, from CDN's down to locally run onion routing networks.

            Centralization represents a single point of failure - of technology failing naturally or as a result of malicious action. With luck this is noted and steps taken towards decentralization before that point of failure is exploited.

            After time passes the reason as to why decentralization was employed is forgotten and the creep towards centralization is on again, usually at the behest of control freaks obsessed with "ordnung muss sein".

            We're seeing that right now with Article 13 heavily pushed harder by politicians intent on control rather than the original shady crooks in the copyright cult.

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        • icon
          nasch (profile), 13 Mar 2019 @ 7:45am

          Re: Re: Re:

          we'd be essentially back where we started, with two or three centralized massive curation systems that everyone's using, all having the same problems of moderation at scale.

          Except those systems would not necessarily benefit from network effects, which makes them easy to switch out. The goal of this plan is not to make sure there aren't any dominant players, it's to enable competition. If a few big players dominate because they're awesome, then that's fine. The market is being served. This is different from one or a very few big players dominating because it's difficult to switch away from them or start a competitor.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 11:22am

      Re:

      Content moderation at scale is impossible, and therefore...

      ...don't expect perfect content moderation at scale.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2019 @ 2:15pm

      Re:

      This brings the image of two lizards chasing each other's tails forever in a circle to mind!

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  • icon
    Thad (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 10:55am

    And then what happened? The ads got taken down, and rather being "censored," the story went crazy viral through other sources, almost as if the Warren campaign maybe found some silly rule to violate just to make this kind of thing happen....

    Or Facebook wanted to take the ads down and maybe found some silly rule that they violated to make that kind of thing happen.

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 11:16am

      Re:

      Or Facebook wanted to take the ads down and maybe found some silly rule that they violated to make that kind of thing happen.

      That is, of course, a possibility, but a very unlikely one. Even as dumb and short sighted as Facebook can be at times, you can bet that even they would recognize how this would look and how it would totally backfire. That's not what happened.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2019 @ 3:54am

        Re: Re:

        That is, of course, a possibility, but a very unlikely one. Even as dumb and short sighted as Facebook can be at times, you can bet that even they would recognize how this would look and how it would totally backfire. That's not what happened.
        .
        .
        The ads were taken down after it was discovered they violated the ToS.

        Facebook uses fingerprinting to block naked children (porn or not) in images from being posted.

        It would be absolutely stupid to think they wouldn't fingerprint their own logo.

        I'm open to the idea the blocking was not intentional, but so far, I've seen no reasonable excuse.

        Personally, I believe this is just another moment Facebook got caught doing something it does on a daily basis.

        The timing just wasn't in their favor.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 13 Mar 2019 @ 7:46am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The ads were taken down after it was discovered they violated the ToS.

          Obviously. This supports the idea that that is the reason they were taken down.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JP the Recurring Zombie (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:04pm

      Re:

      Or Facebook wanted to take the ads down and maybe found some silly rule that they violated to make that kind of thing happen.

      Or maybe Warren's team wanted to make the ad go viral without spending a lot of ad money and purposefully broke Facebook's ad rules in order to get it taken down so they could claim Facebook was censoring the message ...

      Or someone didn't RTFM about ad posting.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2019 @ 2:22pm

        Re: Re:

        I will bet whatever I have in my wallet the ad posted was purely politically motivated and dared facebük to remove it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 10:57am

    Don't you ever get tired of defending the worst people?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 11:03am

      Re:

      To bastardise a good saying. If you don’t defend the worst people. There will be no one left to defend you when the time comes.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Matthew Cline (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 2:39pm

        Re: Re:

        From the movie A Man for All Seasons:

        WILLIAM ROPER: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

        SIR THOMAS MORE: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

        ROPER: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

        MORE: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 11:15am

      Re:

      Don't you ever get tired of defending the worst people?

      I'm not defending the worst people. I'm defending truth and accuracy. I have regularly criticized Facebook and think they have notoriously bad practices, which I've criticized.

      But if you're so focused on hating Facebook that you have to slam them based on inaccurate claims, well, that says a lot more about you than it does me.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:38pm

      Re:

      You should have asked "don't you get tired of defending the worst people when they are being wrongly accused?".

      And it must be tiresome to argue FOR truth and accuracy when everybody else is focused on the ad hominen instead of the truth.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 11:21am

    Umm.

    Maybe I'm not understanding it right, but if I owned a website, and someone made an ad to put on my website that tries to start a process in taking down my website, or making it less popular or does some kind of damage to my website...why would I allow it on my website? It's my website...I'm in charge of the website. I decide what goes on it. Why would I want something that could in the long run completely change it or one day make it weaker or make less money? I'm pretty sure the terms of service says they can decide what ads go on it anyway.

    That's like common sense isn't it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 11:24am

      Re: Umm.

      Yes, but none of that helps you when you are defending yourself against accusations that you are too powerful and capable of exerting too much influence over politics and society.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:01pm

        Re: Re: Umm.

        Also interesting is that the policy gives Facebook's brands special status; if it forbids misusing other brands, that's not in the screenshot. (I just get a login screen when I try to follow the link.)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Qwertygiy, 12 Mar 2019 @ 2:48pm

          That's not "special status".

          The brand they're talking about in "Brand Usage" is their own brand. They're granting you limited rights to use their registered trademarks, in ways that you might not be allowed to in any other ad services.

          The logos and trademarks of other brands -- even the ways accepted for the Facebook trademark -- would generally be forbidden as a matter of copyright and trademark laws, even if not explicitly forbidden by Facebook policy.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 2:58pm

            Re:

            They're granting you limited rights to use their registered trademarks, in ways that you might not be allowed to in any other ad services.

            It says you "may make limited reference...for the purpose of clarifying the destination of the ad", which sounds a lot like nominative use. And it says you can't write "FB", which is not something they'd normally have any right to prevent.

            What rights are they actually granting that advertisers don't already have? It's entirely special status.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 7:06pm

        Re: Re: Umm.

        I think it's because Facebook is now almost viewed like a public utility, rather than an independent company.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 10:42pm

          Re: Re: Re: Umm.

          Facebook is now almost viewed like a public utility,

          Really, who in their right mind thinks that access to facebook is equivalent to having natural gas so that one can heat their house during the winter????

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 13 Mar 2019 @ 7:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Umm.

            Really, who in their right mind thinks that access to facebook is equivalent to having natural gas so that one can heat their house during the winter????

            I don't know if they're in their right minds. But idiots do claim just that.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 11:27am

      Re: Umm.

      To paraphrase a famous quote from Jurassic Park, don't spend so much time thinking about whether you can that you forget to consider whether you should.

      If you're going to appeal to common sense, consider this: When the argument that someone makes is that they have too much power to censor and a history of abusing it, is it not common sense that using your power to silence this ad is (or simply really really looks like, even if this isn't factually the case) completely proving your opponent's point?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:09pm

        Re: Re: Umm.

        Friend I say this honestly and of good faith and I can’t believe I am defending Facebook... let me sound like I am in the same situation for a minute...

        The person putting up ads against me is calling for a break up of my buisness during an election year in my own business and after said thing is done it would become little more then a small rally cry of what was a achieved during time in office for claps until the next elections.

        I’m not betting exisance on politics.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mason Wheeler (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:13pm

          Re: Re: Re: Umm.

          Again, when taking down the ad can be used as evidence to further the agenda the ad was attempting to drive, it's not a particularly good idea.

          Sometimes you're in a situation where there are no good options. Hypothetically, this could happen to you just because, and then life sucks for you. In reality--particularly in the business world--it usually happens as a result of you having done something to earn it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:17pm

          Re: Re: Re: Umm.

          Here's the thing though, they're doing so by barely throwing any money at all at those ads, and almost no-one is actually seeing the ads calling for your destruction. As it stands those ads are a minor annoyance; sure they're calling for your company to be broken up, but basically no-one even knows the ads exist, so they aren't likely to be very dangerous to you.

          After you kill the ads though suddenly lots of people are aware of them, and your own actions have just provided a perfect example to be used against you. A minor annoyance suddenly became a much bigger problem, all because of what you did.

          If the decision to be made, 'leave it up' or 'kill it' is centered around 'which option is better for the company?' then the former is much less damaging to the company, and a much smarter move.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:40pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Umm.

            I think this back and forth is the whole point.

            They leave up the ad even though it violates the rules with the Facebook logo. "Well you let this ad run and it violates the rules." Looks bad.
            They take down the ad because it violates the rules, people say "See!? See?! Too much power! Censorship!!" Looks bad.

            Mike's right. This is impossible. Nobody wins like this.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:44pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Umm.

            I still don't get how this is a perfect example of anything deserving of being "broken up". Businesses reserve the right to refuse service, it's in every EULA for every online service, too. Why should Facebook or any other company host political calls to damage the company under any circumstances?

            Exercising First Amendment rights (and they are, particularly in this case since the "customer" is a government employee) is perfectly acceptable. Since when I exercising one's rights grounds for punishment?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 1:21pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Umm.

              Logically, it isn't, however as a cheap, nonsensical emotional ploy it could be very effective, especially with people already inclined to be against the company/companies in question.

              Politician calls for companies to be broken up, claims they have too much power and control, and are using it abusively.

              Politician puts out ad critical of companies.

              Company being criticized pulls ad because it violates their ToS.

              Politician points to ad being pulled and claims that that's evidence that companies are silencing dissent and need to be controlled more, so that they can't do that any more.

              The fact that the ad was pulled not because it was critical of the company but because it violated their ToS for ads is conveniently never mentioned.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Shufflepants (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 11:32am

      Re: Umm.

      Just because you can do something, doesn't mean it's a good idea. It's quite possible that you pulling down the ad will do more to further the goal taking down your website than the ad on its own ever could. Especially if your website is supposedly dedicated to and used for communication.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 11:52am

      Re: Umm.

      I was looking at it from the "business" standpoint. Coca-cola isn't going to let an ad run that says "Coca-cola is bad" I'm hearing they're proving the point that they have "too" much power. It's like yeah they do have the power to remove you from their home. It's their home. If you want to live there you don't bite the owner of the house.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:22pm

        Re: Re: Umm.

        I was looking at it from the "business" standpoint.

        When you are a giant company, proposed federal regulation and your relationship with regulators and politicians (and the voters who elect them) is part of your "business" calculus. Just ask Amazon about its NYC facility.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jdc (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 11:40am

    Seems to me that

    a better theory is that Elizabeth Warren's people were fully aware of Facebook's policy and decided to take advantage of the automated system. What better method of "getting your message across" than to have your ad taken down via an automated mechanism so you could scream about how horrible everything is?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:09pm

      'Oh darn, how'd that filter-triggering thing get in there...?'

      Facebook’s ad archive shows that the four ads had less than $100 in backing each, with three garnering fewer than 1,000 impressions and one garnering between 1,000 and 5,000 impressions.

      With numbers like that, yeah, I strongly suspect you hit it right on the head. Why bother spending a lot of money to promote the ad when you can include something that will allow someone else to 'promote' it for you in a way that (falsely) seems to support the ad?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:39pm

        Re: 'Oh darn, how'd that filter-triggering thing get in there...

        It's not like people get the easiest narrative even if it's false and run with it these days eh?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 11:49am

    Why are you so eager to continue trying to convince everyone to give the benefit of the doubt to a corporation with a long history of lying and engaging in shady/abusive practices?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:04pm

      Re:

      Because assuming malice rather than stupid filtering on this instance is also assuming monumental stupidity on FB's behalf?

      It's not giving them the benefit of the doubt(much) to assume that they wouldn't deliberately give her ammo to be used against them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:14pm

      Re:

      Because misunderstanding a problem rarely helps in fixing it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 1:54pm

      Re:

      Why are you so eager to prove your lack of reading comprehension skills?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:12pm

    Given her history of less than truthful statements, I wonder why she thought posting an add violating Facebook policy was a good idea. Especially with the small spend, I can't help but wonder if Warren did this deliberately, knowing it would be taken down.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:20pm

      Re:

      Given the paltry amounts spent on the ads I'm almost certain that that was exactly what happened here, which is certainly not helping my perception of her and her campaign.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 1:10pm

      Re:

      "Given her history of less than truthful statements"

      What might some of them be and what is/are the source(s)?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 1:47pm

        Re: Re:

        Her various stages of backtracking about her claim to be Native American are the most well-known.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Toom1275 (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 2:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Ah, so, no examples then.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 2:15pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I'm sorry, I thought the constant barrage of "Pocohontas" nonsense aimed at her had pervaded everyone else's news feed, too.

            She claimed her race as Native American in college, and in early job applications -- even her application for passing the bar. She defended/denied saying "Well, I am just part Native American, but I didn't know I was mistaken by Harvard to be a minority." Several Native American tribes protested, saying she holds no citizenship in any tribe and is not legally a Native American. This she admitted was true, but she decided to take a DNA test anyway... proving she had some native American ancestry but not of the region or amount she had claimed.

            And of course the Republicans latched on like they did for Obama and made a big hoopla, but unlike Obama the evidence is not in her favor.

            https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/02/07/elizabeth-warren-dna-results-percentage-cherokee- nation-native-american-column/2799968002/

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 2:21pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The whole saga is indeed deeply embarrassing for her, and her handling of it has been consistently terrible. But it's also a very specific situation surrounding a very specific cultural issue. Don't get me wrong, it reflects poorly on her - but I think it's a bit of a stretch to say it establishes a pattern that means we should suspect dishonesty and subterfuge of her at every turn. Feels like you'd have to already want to believe that, to let that be your foundational evidence.

              And I even think the idea that her team hoped the ad would get taken down for the signal boost is entirely plausible (far more plausible than Facebook intentionally targeting it to suppress its message, given how stupid that would be) - but honestly I'd consider that plausible for any political campaign, whether it was run by a paragon of honesty or a pathological liar.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 2:30pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                It's not the part about the specific cultural issue, it's that she lied about it for political gain, then when found out, lied that she'd lied about it.

                "Oh, I didn't ever say I was. I didn't know they hired me because they thought I was a minority; I don't know why they thought I was."

                Being dishonest for the sake of attracting attention to oneself for the advancement of one's career. That seems like it applies to this situation pretty well, regardless of the actual topic that was being discussed.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 5:40pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Hamilton's just angry the fake Indian won over the real Indian, but when the "real Indian" was the one whooping and cheering and harassing his opponent's supporters what else did he expect?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2019 @ 2:37pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Anyone who makes such a big deal out of being 1/8th anything for politicizing ain't getting my vote.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 12:39pm

    Here is Warren, talking about how Facebook is too powerful and can potentially influence policy by choosing what it allows and what it doesn't allow

    Said by a person seeking a position of power so that she can influence policy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 1:00pm

    Here we're talking about recent bans issued by Facebook.

    I'm still calling for the anti-trust sledgehammer for the companies repeated TOS three-card-monte to strip privacy from users without clarity, then proceeding to routinely mishandle data.

    Blocking ability of users of their platform to access political messaging from a Presidential Candidate is just one more in a very long list of over-steps.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 1:13pm

      Re:

      "Blocking ability of users of their platform to access political messaging from a Presidential Candidate"

      I'm a bit more concerned about their lack of integrity with respect to an idividual's data that they seem to vacuum up, package and sell all the while trying to convince everyone that the respect your privacy - lol.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 1:47pm

      Re:

      Here we're talking about recent bans issued by Facebook.

      Who is talking about that where?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 13 Mar 2019 @ 7:54am

      Re:

      I'm still calling for the anti-trust sledgehammer for the companies repeated TOS three-card-monte to strip privacy from users without clarity, then proceeding to routinely mishandle data.

      How are those anti-trust issues?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 1:15pm

    AUTOMATED content moderation at scale is impossible.

    HUMAN moderation of this content is not. It's just too expensive for today's tech darlings to exist.

    "Safety is too expensive" is not a justification for an automaker to eliminate seat belts from cars.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 1:51pm

      Re:

      An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition. It isn't just contradiction.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 6:18pm

        Re: Re:

        I wish Jhon Sanford Smith would pay thousands of humans to filter the Net for his stuff. Partially because I'd prefer it gone, if it even exists. Partially because the idea of the fucker burning his own reserves is a hilarious prospect.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Prinny, 13 Mar 2019 @ 9:32am

        Re: Re:

        A bot is an obnoxious inhuman automaton that does nothing but spam the same scripted lines over and over again, dood!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 2:02pm

      Re:

      Seatbelts are the automated way, dumbass.

      The human way would be that the car manufacturer hires someone to sit in the car with you and throw their hand in front of you if you're about to crash.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 13 Mar 2019 @ 7:56am

      Re:

      HUMAN moderation of this content is not.

      OK, how could humans have moderated (or declined to moderate) this issue in a way that would be consistent with Facebook policy, not detrimental to the public good, and not detrimental to Facebook's reputation? Feel free to imagine that Facebook has millions of full-time highly trained moderators.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 1:43pm

    It's the century of the cheap gotcha.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2019 @ 7:04pm

    I think the real scandal is that this seems to set the precedent politicians deserve special treatment: these ads very clearly violate Facebook's standards, were taken down, and yet now are back up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 13 Mar 2019 @ 8:43am

      Re:

      I think the real scandal is that this seems to set the precedent politicians deserve special treatment

      Political advertising is generally given more leeway than product advertisement; this is not a new development.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Mar 2019 @ 7:31pm

    OMG FACEBOOK IS THE DEVIL!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We're holding children in cages.
    We're hiring pedophiles, serial killers, & rapists to watch over them.
    We've got agents placing bugs in citizens homes b/c they are brown.
    We've got secret laws being used to hide wrongdoing.
    We've got courts & oversight who see nothing wrong with hosting & encouraging the creation of more child porn.

    But lets keep focusing on facebook instead of admitting its just another dog whistle to distract people from the simple fact that no one is minding the store, we have no rights, & even video showing a cop shooting us in the back of the head while cuffed and on our knees doesn't guarantee he will even be tried let alone convicted.

    Society is a shitshow, and instead of trying to affix the blame on FB or Twitter or tech... how about we fix the fscking problems first then worry about where to assign the blame... not that we will every accept our culpability in handing them the right to do whatever they want to 'bad people' as long as they keep us safe, ignoring that when they run out of real and imaginary bad people they just start deciding we're the bad people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2019 @ 4:26am

      Re:

      If you have to describe something as a “dog whistle” it means you are dishonest and insincere.

      Your use of Dogwhistle bullshit confirms you are a dishonest fanatical idiot.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Prinny, 13 Mar 2019 @ 9:34am

        Re: Re:

        Like I've said elsewhere, a dog whistle is a special whistle that ordinary people can't hear but dogs can. If you're claiming to be able to hear it, what does that make you, dood?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Rocky, 13 Mar 2019 @ 5:05pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          A dog whistle is nothing special, it's just a whistle that produces a sound in the ultrasonic auditory spectrum. And if a person can hear it they have an above average auditory hearing range, which also means that using it as a metaphor for distracting people is seriously flawed since a very small fraction of the population can hear one.

          Also, your syllogism doesn't make sense.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 13 Mar 2019 @ 6:57pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It's not a perfect analogy, because analogies are never perfect. The idea of a "dog whistle" is that the surface meaning of the words is innocent, while the (small) target audience understands another meaning. The difficulty with analyzing such things is that there's always the chance that there was no deeper meaning intended and it actually was innocent. Which is of course why people use such language - plausible deniability.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2019 @ 5:18am

      Re:

      Wow, lay off the tinfoil. Try some lithium instead!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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